The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
Review by Lauren
Source: copy from library; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party. When Healy High star quarterback, Brandon Fitzsimmons, dies in a car crash, it was because he was sexting with Alice. Ask anybody.
Rumor has it Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the "slut stall" in the girls' bathroom: "Alice had sex in exchange for math test answers" and "Alice got an abortion last semester." After Brandon dies, the rumors start to spiral out of control. In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students tell all they "know" about Alice--and in doing so reveal their own secrets and motivations, painting a raw look at the realities of teen life. But in this novel from Jennifer Mathieu, exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.
Review: Last semester I took a children's literature course and I would share some of the books I read through reviews. This time around, my class is all about Young Adult literature, so I hope you enjoy hearing about the many books I'll be reading. The first week of class we had to choose a realistic fiction novel that had been published in the last year. I'd been wanting to read The Truth About Alice, so it was a great reason to pick it up.
This book is quick, but I felt like it dealt with the various issues in a realistic way. Besides Alice and all the rumors surrounding what she may or may not have done at a party, everyone telling this story has their own worries, fears, and secrets. There is Elaine, the popular girl who had the party; Josh, Brandon's best friend and the reason people know about Alice supposedly sexting him the night he died; Kelsie, the ex-best friend of Alice who turns against her after all the drama; and Kurt, the smartest boy in school who lived next door to Brandon and who has been in love with Alice for years.
Each of these narrators tell the story of Alice as they know it. As readers, we eventually learn the truth, but it's heartbreaking to see all that Alice had to go through. It's horrible that there is such a stereotype against women who are comfortable with their sexuality being "sluts" or "whores." Alice is accused of sleeping with two guys in one night, but what about the guys? They are seen as heroes, in a sense, and it's wrong. Regardless of the truth, and like I said, you do learn it, there shouldn't be such a difference when regarding men and women and their sexuality.
In the end, this was a really good book. You get Alice's perspective in the end, and I thought it was done well. I suppose I would have loved to hear more from her, but I think the idea of other people telling your own story makes sense. It often happens after all.